VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Justin and Tatjana Roth had to pay two contractors to build one swimming pool.
On Monday morning, Judge Afshin Farashahi decided they were entitled to a judgment against the first one the Roths had hired, Artistic Pools Unlimited.
The Roths were among 10 Artistic customers 10 On Your Side uncovered as part of our investigation of unsatisfied clients.
They paid nearly $40,000 for their pool, but the job was never completed. They had to hire a second contractor and had to pay them $20,000, so it was nearly $60,000 for a pool that was supposed to cost $40,000.
“They contracted for a specific product and procedure from Artistic and didn’t receive what they contracted for,” said the Roths’ attorney, Christy Murphy, following the hearing.
“They got the highest amount [$25,000] they could get from [General District] court,” Murphy said.
“We’re very happy, It’s been a long process but at least we’re taking steps in the right direction,” Justin Roth said.
“They had to bring in a second contractor to not only finish the pool, but to correct all the defective work, so there were two aspects of it,” Murphy said.
Like several other Artistic Pools customers, the Roths had made their payments to company co-owner John Jiannine. Neither Jiannine nor anyone representing Artistic appeared at Monday’s hearing.
For now, the $25,000 judgment is a piece of paper, and the Roths would have to try to collect on it. But at least three of Artistic’s customers received refund checks recently, although their transactions involved no work or materials and lesser amounts of money paid to Artistic.
Several Artistic customers have contacted 10 On Your Side after our initial report in June, and Roth said after the hearing that the publicity had a “positive effect.”
Another option for the Roths is the state’s Contractor Transaction Recovery Fund.
“To try to get the commonwealth, under the fund, to help compensate them for what Artistic did to them,” Murphy said.
But to collect from the fund, a customer has to prove fraud through willful improper conduct and dishonesty.